Moses Malone and Darryl Dawkins struck the basketball community hard, inspiring many tributes to the players and an outpouring of remembrances and condolences. It now appears that the players’ union and NBA have taken these tragedies as an opportunity to help prevent similar events in the future.The recent heart-related deaths of former Philadelphia 76ers teammates and bona fide basketball legends
According to a new report by Jackie MacMullan for ESPN.com, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and commissioner Adam Silver are close to finalizing an agreement to fund cardiac screenings and health insurance for retired players:
The joint effort between union executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver — at a time when there still may be potentially acrimonious labor negotiations looming for their sides — is intended to ease the health concerns of its retired players.
Roberts said action from the players’ association on providing screening for its retired players is “imminent.”
“I wish I could give you an exact timetable, but we have to make sure all the components are in place,” Roberts told ESPN recently. “I will tell you we hope to have something sooner than later. […]
“I think both Adam and I feel the urgency. We don’t want to lose another player before [taking action].”
Said Silver: “It’s an extremely high priority for us. The cardiac issues our players have experienced are well known.”
While the deaths of Dawkins and Malone expedited the process, MacMullan reports that Roberts first proposed the plan to players at the union’s annual meeting in Las Vegas this July. Union president Chris Paul and others were receptive to the idea but wanted more information to ensure that it could continue in perpetuity.
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Negotiations between the union and league can be contentious, so it’s very nice to hear that both sides have come together to reach a speedy resolution to this important issue. Silver has also pledged to connect the union to cardiologists with longstanding NBA ties and appears fully committed to ensuring that retired players get this important medical care.
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